Ask a YouTube Lawyer: Should I Join an MCN?

So what is a Multi-Channel Network (MCN)?

MCN’s are organizations that have access to a higher level of account management; this is the YouTube CMS (Content management system) that offers them the privilege of managing and overseeing several other channels that belong or are part of their network. This privilege allows them to monetize videos across their whole network of channels.

Originally the MCNs were smaller and very difficult to join. Only popular YouTube stars were accepted and benefited from the talent management, cross promotion and from the revenue that they generated through the merchandise, the product placement and the ads that were sold to the videos that were a rate higher than Google’s own.

Recently the MCNs have opened their doors to the smaller YouTubers offering a chance for anyone to make use of the services that they offer. Meaning that for the smaller accounts, their users can be able to make money from their videos easily especially if they are not already a YouTube Partner.


Reasons to Join

So if you ask a lawyer, should I join a YouTube Multi-Channel Network? The best answer at this point would be to review the MCN cons and pros. The following are reasons why you should join a Multi-Channel Network:


1. For Protection and Management of your Network

Many of the YouTubers don’t necessarily worry about the management of their digital rights of their content and sending emails to their specific partners.

A good thing the MCNs do is to offer support in these specific areas, and they are equipped with a team of experts that help control the behind the scene happenings of your channel. This is an important benefit to the content producer who most of the time want to focus on content creation rather than the cooperate aspects of the channel.


2. Cross-Channel Collaborations

One of the greatest benefits of joining an MCN on YouTube is the fact that there is potential for collaborations with other members of the network that you are in. Collaborations are a great way to build your subscriber count. This is because it gets more eyes on your content by reaching a whole new audience that your channel did not have before, expanding your viewership in the long run.

Most of these networks usually have a broad catalog of video makers and they often encourage them to work together for mutual benefit. This is something that your channel can take full advantage of.


3. Sponsorships

While the MCNs are known to take a percentage of your ad revenue, they also assist in the boosting of your income in some different ways. When you join an MCN,  it can help you get a higher CPM (Cost per thousand impressions) which they often claim is achievable due to brands and sponsorship, however, be very cautious about this fact, get your lawyer to see you through this.


Why You Should not Join

So do you feel it’s a wise idea to join an MCN? Have you reviewed the benefits of the MCN with your lawyer? Are you better off going solo or joining an MCN? Well if it all looks good let’s take a look at the cons.

Before you get to sign the MCN contract with the help of an entertainment attorney. Here are five reasons why you should not.


1. Income

So what might seem like a good deal when you first join an MCN could end up with you missing out on a significant amount of income altogether. Most of the MCNs will ask you for anything between 5% and 30% of your earned ad revenue.

At first impression, it could seem like a small fee when your channel first starts out, but if your channel is starts growing this fee becomes significant and with the help of an attorney it could be worth keeping an eye on.


2. Contracts

Any Entertainment lawyer will advise you for free that you will need to be careful while signing a contract with an MCN, and especially if you are joining for the first time. Their reputation for exposure could change drastically, making their partnership less beneficial to you.


3. Many Channels

Many of the MCNs have hundreds if not thousands of channels that have been contracted by their company; this makes it very impossible for them to give each channel as much attention as they would ideally like. This makes it very hard to get in-depth feedback and support for your channel.


4. Independence

In case you feel like you do not want to share whatever income you get, and that you can grow and manage your channel independently, then you do not need to join an MCN. Speaking to sponsors and collaborating with other YouTubers are things that you can be able to do by yourself through networking.

Therefore, whether you decide to join an MCN or not, both of the options that have been discussed in this post have positives that can greatly help your channel. Review this options with a qualified Entertainment Lawyer to help you decide which option best suits your network.


Mollaei Law is a law firm specializing in business law serving businesses and entrepreneurs. We provide legal expertise in all stages of business development by drafting and reviewing contracts and agreements, assisting transactions and negotiating, forming LLC’s and Corporations, registering trademarks and copyrights, business planning, and answering any legal questions you may have about your business.

Sam Mollaei, Esq., business lawyer, can be reached by email [email protected] or via phone (818) 925-0002.

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